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Over the last four years, thousands of children and their families have benefited from family-support centers, which were introduced to Western New York by the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Robert M. Bennett, United Way president, said the program was created to help children and families "where the problems are often detected first -- in the schools."

He said the school-based centers link troubled students and families to health and human service agencies in their neighborhoods to address domestic violence, substance abuse and improving parenting skills.

On Wednesday, Bennett announced in JFK High School in Cheektowaga that United Way will continue to fund three centers at a cost of $60,000, and two $10,000 grants will be used to open centers in Akron and Lackawanna.

The family-support centers are located in five different school districts: Sweet Home, Frontier, Cheektowaga-Sloan and now, Akron and Lackawanna.

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